Residential, Cook Electric
Written by Larry Cook

Easy Electrical Code Guide for Homeowners – Part 2

As covered in Part 1, the NEC mostly guides general electrical installations. However, it also includes specific requirements for individual rooms. Part 2 will discuss Hallways, Closets, Kitchens, and Laundry Rooms.




For long hallways that can be escape routes, you need to ensure sufficient ceiling lighting. Hallways over 10 feet in length require a general purpose outlet. To turn off the overhead lights, you need three-way switches at both ends of a hallway. In addition, a 4-way switch must be installed next to the doorway of every room.




Every incandescent light bulb fixture must have a globe or other enclosure because of their high temperatures. They are required to be installed one feet or more away from a clothing storage area. This requirement may be decreased to 6 inches for fixtures with CFL (compact fluorescent) light bulbs and recessed fixtures.




Using the most electricity in the home, a typical new kitchen with modern appliances will require at least seven circuits. Lighting must have a dedicated circuit of 15 amps minimum. In addition, there should be at least two 20-amp 120 volt circuits for countertop receptacles powering small appliances. A dedicated 120/240-volt circuit will be needed for an oven-electric range.


A dedicated 120-volt circuit will be needed for each garbage disposal, dishwasher, microwave, and refrigerator unit. As determined by the appliance’s electrical load, this circuit may be 15-amp or 20-amp.


If located within six feet of a sink, a receptacle will need GFCI protection. Moreover, countertop receptacles must be located a maximum of 48 inches apart. Finally, there should be a maximum distance of 24 inches from a receptacle to every point on a countertop.


Laundry Rooms


The primary electrical requirements of a laundry room will be determined by whether the clothes dryer is electric or gas powered. At least one dedicated 20-amp circuit is needed for a receptacle powering laundry equipment, which can be used for a washing machine or a gas dryer. In contrast, an electric dryer must have a dedicated 240-volt circuit of 30 amps wired with four conductors. In addition, each laundry room receptacle requires GFCI protection.


Part 3 will cover Bedrooms, Living Rooms & Dining Rooms, Garages, AFCI, and Tamper Resistant.


Electrical Peace of Mind


Providing professional electricians since 1988 in Maryland, Cook Electric is the company you can rely on for all your electrical service needs. For knowledgeable, fair, honest, reliable, and conscientious service, call Cook Electric today at (410) 266-9040. We will be very glad to help you.